The Guardian Green Travel Guide
Liane Katz has edited a ground breaking Green Travel Guide for The Guardian which offers travellers and holidaymakers a guide to green holidays, as Tom Hall comments �everything you need to travel with your eyes open.�
Alastair Sawday, in his foreword, reminds readers of Leo Hickman�s injunction to wean ourselves off long haul and exploitative travel, given that �madness and denial� are everywhere, what he asks can we do. Liane Katz, and the contributors she has brought together, remind us that it is possible for �the joys of travel to coexist with awareness�.
We can make a difference by the way we travel. As consumers we have choices and Katz�s guide provides the awareness to consumers and with it the opportunity to make better choices. This is the best guide book to responsible travel to date, it draws on some of the best writing in The Guardian and elsewhere and brings together a real wealth of advice for the consumer about how to have a great holiday without damaging our world .
The guide is in three sections � there is an awareness raising first section: What is Green Travel? The second section discusses how to travel and that has a short discussion about fairtrade and ethical travel contributed by Jill Insley. The third section draws heavily on Richard Hammond's pieces written for www.greentraveller.co.uk , a directory of accommodation and experiences and some of the most responsible operators � although the criteria are not clear and there are some odd omissions.
ICRT alumni Justin Francis, Catherine Mack and Veronica Tonge are amongst the contributors. The section on flying and carbon offsetting presents the debate well and will contribute to raising awareness� I am there arguing that it is responsible to fly, although as with drinking it depends how, and how much of it, you do.
It is odd that there is no directory offering those interested in the issues guidance on where to find further information � but this is a traditional travel book albeit with a new message, and perhaps Liane was right to avoid the book becoming to earnest, stodgy and worse, for a guide book, academic.
The book conveys the message that responsible holidays can be luxurious and fun, great experiences which don�t cost the earth. We need more of this kind of writing about responsible travel � although it is disappointing that The Guardian still feels it can�t lead with that language, it persists with the focus on green. The section on What is Green Travel has a long section on What is responsible tourism? 32 pages, the bulk of the section � the rest deals with flying and carbon offsetting. It appears that green means responsible�
peopleandplaces, the volunteering company I established with Kate and Sallie to demonstrate that volunteering holidays can be organised and sold ethically, is identified as a trail blazer in volunteering overseas � and the questions Liane recommends should be asked about volunteering overseas look very familiar! (p.188 and 196).
Take a look, recommend it to your friends, for the non-expert this is a great introduction to why and how people should and can travel more responsibly � and still have a great holiday. If the RT movement cannot offer that, it will fail.
Katz L (2009) The Guardian Green Travel Guide Guardian Books �13.99